News & Politics

FedGov to Spend $36.7M on Campaign to Stop LGBT Smoking

The Food and Drug Administration will launch a $36.7M ad campaign to cut down on LGBT smoking. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered young folks are more than twice as likely to smoke as similar-aged heterosexuals.

“A campaign like this is long overdue,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “LGBT young adults have been through a lot in the coming out process. It’s what makes them vulnerable to unhealthy behaviors.”

Zeller says that the average age for a LGBTer to “come out” is 18, and many turn to cigarettes to deal with the stress of the social stigma. Of the 2 million LGBT young adults, more than 800,000 smoke.

“The ‘coming out’ process is a unique tobacco-use risk factor for LGBT young adults due to the actual and perceived social stigma, discrimination and anxiety experienced during this process,” the FDA wrote in a press release. “And data show that the ‘coming out’ process faced by most LGBT young adults can lead to tobacco use and negative health consequences.”

“I’ll be known for a lot of things, but I will never be known for wrinkled skin, yellow nails, smelly hair or a busted smile,” drag queens say in one ad. “All caused by what? Smoking. Yas queen. Every cigarette is doing you damage.”

The money for the campaign does not come from taxpayer dollars, says the FDA, but rather from the taxes added on to tobacco products.